Percy Bysshe Shelley

Here you will find the Long Poem Epipsychidion (excerpt) of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

Epipsychidion (excerpt)

 A ship is floating in the harbour now,
 A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
 There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
 No keel has ever plough'd that path before;
 The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
 The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles;
 The merry mariners are bold and free:
 Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
 Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest
 Is a far Eden of the purple East;
 And we between her wings will sit, while Night,
 And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight,
 Our ministers, along the boundless Sea,
 Treading each other's heels, unheededly.
 It is an isle under Ionian skies,
 Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise,
 And, for the harbours are not safe and good,
 This land would have remain'd a solitude
 But for some pastoral people native there,
 Who from the Elysian, clear, and golden air
 Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,
 Simple and spirited; innocent and bold.
 The blue Aegean girds this chosen home,
 With ever-changing sound and light and foam,
 Kissing the sifted sands, and caverns hoar;
 And all the winds wandering along the shore
 Undulate with the undulating tide:
 There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide;
 And many a fountain, rivulet and pond,
 As clear as elemental diamond,
 Or serene morning air; and far beyond,
 The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
 (Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year)
 Pierce into glades, caverns and bowers, and halls
 Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls
 Illumining, with sound that never fails
 Accompany the noonday nightingales;
 And all the place is peopled with sweet airs;
 The light clear element which the isle wears
 Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers,
 Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers,
 And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep;
 And from the moss violets and jonquils peep
 And dart their arrowy odour through the brain
 Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
 And every motion, odour, beam and tone,
 With that deep music is in unison:
 Which is a soul within the soul--they seem
 Like echoes of an antenatal dream.
 It is an isle 'twixt Heaven, Air, Earth and Sea,
 Cradled and hung in clear tranquillity;
 Bright as that wandering Eden Lucifer,
 Wash'd by the soft blue Oceans of young air.
 It is a favour'd place. Famine or Blight,
 Pestilence, War and Earthquake, never light
 Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they
 Sail onward far upon their fatal way:
 The wingèd storms, chanting their thunder-psalm
 To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
 Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
 From which its fields and woods ever renew
 Their green and golden immortality.
 And from the sea there rise, and from the sky
 There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright,
 Veil after veil, each hiding some delight,
 Which Sun or Moon or zephyr draw aside,
 Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride
 Glowing at once with love and loveliness,
 Blushes and trembles at its own excess:
 Yet, like a buried lamp, a Soul no less
 Burns in the heart of this delicious isle,
 An atom of th' Eternal, whose own smile
 Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen
 O'er the gray rocks, blue waves and forests green,
 Filling their bare and void interstices.
 But the chief marvel of the wilderness
 Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how
 None of the rustic island-people know:
 'Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height
 It overtops the woods; but, for delight,
 Some wise and tender Ocean-King, ere crime
 Had been invented, in the world's young prime,
 Rear'd it, a wonder of that simple time,
 An envy of the isles, a pleasure-house
 Made sacred to his sister and his spouse.
 It scarce seems now a wreck of human art,
 But, as it were, Titanic; in the heart
 Of Earth having assum'd its form, then grown
 Out of the mountains, from the living stone,
 Lifting itself in caverns light and high:
 For all the antique and learned imagery
 Has been eras'd, and in the place of it
 The ivy and the wild-vine interknit
 The volumes of their many-twining stems;
 Parasite flowers illume with dewy gems
 The lampless halls, and when they fade, the sky
 Peeps through their winter-woof of tracery
 With moonlight patches, or star atoms keen,
 Or fragments of the day's intense serene;
 Working mosaic on their Parian floors.
 And, day and night, aloof, from the high towers
 And terraces, the Earth and Ocean seem
 To sleep in one another's arms, and dream
 Of waves, flowers, clouds, woods, rocks, and all that we
 Read in their smiles, and call reality.

 This isle and house are mine, and I have vow'd
 Thee to be lady of the solitude.
 And I ha